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CULLEN, Countee

Simon the Cyrenian speaks

He never spoke a word to me,
And yet He called my name;
He never gave a sign to me,
And yet I knew and came.

At first I said, "I will not bear
His cross upon my back;
He only seeks to place it there
Because my skin is black."

But He was dying for a dream,
And He was very meek,
And in His eyes there shone a gleam
Men journey far to seek.

It was Himself my pity bought;
I did for Christ alone
What all of Rome could not have wrought
With bruise of lash or stone.

The Wise

Dead men are wisest, for they know

How far the roots of flowers go,

How long a seed must rot to grow.

Dead men alone bear frost and rain

On throbless heart and heatless brain,

And feel no stir of joy or pain.

Dead men alone are satiate;

They sleep and dream and have no weight,

To curb their rest, of love or hate.

Strange, men should flee their company,

Or think me strange who long to be

Wrapped in their cool immunity.